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ITS ABOUT UNITY: Punta Gorda parade, rally pay tribute to Dr. King

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jan 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-15 17:41:20-05

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Despite a light drizzle, the streets of Punta Gorda were alive with the spirit of unity and remembrance as the community gathered for its annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. parade.

The parade, which began at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center, followed its previous route along Taylor Street, turning onto West Charlotte Avenue, and finishing on Mary Street.

Upon arrival, the march transformed into a rally, where a special local award was presented to a Dr. Martha Bireda, a prominent civil rights figure in the Charlotte County community. Her work for the cause of civil rights earned her the recognition of the "Grand Marshal" award.

Pastor Carl Brooks from the First Macedonia M B Church began the parade 31 years ago. "It's to celebrate the legacy and the work that Dr. King did. There's an ongoing need for this work because it's not yet completed," he stated.

This year's parade saw more than 50 entries, including participation from three Charlotte County schools, various local churches, and the Charlotte County NAACP. The diverse group of participants shared a message of unity and Dr. King's teachings.

Gerald Anderson, the parade operations manager, summarized the event's theme, "The paintbrush spreads one color, that's what it's about, man, unity."